George Floyd died from “homicide by asphyxia,” independent autopsy finds
"George died because he needed a breath, a breath of air," the family's attorney Ben Crump said during a news conference Monday afternoon, reports The Minneapolis Star Tribune. "For George Floyd, the ambulance was his hearse...[he] was living, breathing, talking until we see those officers restrain him while he's face down in handcuffs with Officer Chauvin having his knee lodged into his neck for over eight minutes, almost nine minutes, and the other officer having both his knees lodged into his back. And the doctors will explain the significance of that, as to the cause and manner of death."
Crump said Floyd's family commissioned the private autopsy because the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office report did "not address in detail the effect of the purposeful use of force on Mr. Floyd's neck and the extent of Mr. Floyd's suffering at the hands of the police." The county's controversial report said that Floyd died from the effects of being "restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system" but that there were "no physical findings" supporting "a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation."
UPDATE: the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office released their official report on Monday evening, also declaring George Floyd's death a homicide but say he died from "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression," saying he "experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)" while also listing "Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use" as other "significant conditions."
According to The Chicago Tribune, the new autopsy was conducted by Michael Baden -- a former NYC Chief Medical Examiner who was also hired to conduct an independent autopsy of Eric Garner -- and Allecia Wilson. "The evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death and homicide as the manner of death," Wilson said. Baden added, "What we found is consistent with what people saw. There is no other health issue that could cause of contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That's not true."
Crump also said at the press conference that evidence points to Floyd having died on the scene, not at the Hennepin County Medical Center later that night. "The medics, based on the EMT report that we have in our possession, performed pulse checks several times finding none and delivered one shock by their monitor, but George's condition did not change," he said. "They delivered him to the hospital, continued ventilation, but that last report was the patient was still pulseless."
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers involved were fired but so far have not been charged.
You can watch the press conference below.